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Best Plants for Backyard Landscaping (Low Maintenance Tips)

Hey there, backyard enthusiasts! Ready to transform your outdoor space into a lush, inviting oasis? Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just getting your hands dirty for the first time, picking the right plants can make all the difference. From vibrant flowers to hardy shrubs, the right choices will not only beautify your yard but also make it a place you’ll love spending time in.

Key Takeaways

  • Importance of Plant Selection: Choosing the right plants for your backyard is essential for aesthetic appeal and garden health, ensuring minimal maintenance and maximum enjoyment.
  • Climate and Soil Considerations: Evaluate your local climate and soil type to select plants that will thrive in your specific environment, focusing on factors like USDA Hardiness Zones and soil composition.
  • Year-Round Shrub Options: Incorporate evergreen and flowering shrubs such as Boxwood, Holly, and Lilac to maintain backyard beauty across all seasons.
  • Optimal Trees for Landscaping: Consider fast-growing trees like Leyland Cypress and shade-providing options like Oak Trees to enhance privacy and create inviting, cool spaces.
  • Low-Maintenance Perennials: Select durable perennials like Daylilies, Hostas, and Sedum for a vibrant garden that returns each year with minimal upkeep.
  • Effective Ground Covers: Utilize ground covers such as Creeping Thyme and Vinca Minor for erosion control, weed suppression, moisture retention, and added visual appeal.

Understanding Backyard Landscaping: A Plant Perspective

Why Plant Selection Matters

When you’re landscaping your backyard, plant selection is crucial. Imagine setting the stage for a beautiful performance; without the right actors, the play falls flat. The right plants can bring your yard to life, adding both aesthetic appeal and practical benefits. From colorful blooms to lush foliage, the plants you choose will dictate the vibrancy of your outdoor space. Plus, appropriate plant selection ensures that your garden thrives with minimal effort, saving you time and hassle.

Evaluating Your Climate and Soil

Before you start planting, let’s talk about the environmental factors you’ve got to keep in mind. Different plants have different needs, and your local climate and soil conditions play a massive role in determining what will grow best. First, assess your USDA Hardiness Zone; it tells you which plants will survive the winters in your area. Then, take a close look at your soil. Is it sandy, clayey, or loamy? Soil type influences drainage and nutrient availability, both of which are essential for healthy plant growth.

Top Shrubs for Year-Round Backyard Beauty

Evergreen Shrubs

Evergreen shrubs are a game changer for any yard. They keep your backyard looking lush and vibrant all year round. One top pick is the Boxwood. These beauties are perfect for hedges and can be easily shaped to fit your landscape. Another awesome choice is the Holly shrub. It offers dense, green foliage and bright red berries, creating a festive look. Juniper shrubs are also fantastic, especially if you’re looking for something low-maintenance. They come in various sizes and shapes, perfect for ground covers or privacy screens.

Flowering Shrubs

Flowering shrubs add a splash of color and a touch of elegance to any backyard landscape. The Lilac is a classic choice; its fragrant blossoms are hard to beat in the spring. If you’re into bright, bold flowers, Azaleas are your go-to. They bloom in vibrant colors, ranging from pinks to reds to purples, and thrive in partial shade. Another crowd-pleaser is the Hydrangea. Its massive blooms come in various colors and can be manipulated by altering the soil’s pH. For a dramatic flair, consider Camellias. They offer glossy green leaves and stunning blooms in winter, providing color when everything else looks drab.

Best Trees for Privacy and Aesthetic Appeal

When you’re looking to create a backyard oasis, choosing the right trees can make all the difference. Trees not only offer privacy from neighbors, but they also add aesthetic appeal to your landscape design. Let’s dive into some top picks under two main categories: fast-growing trees and shade-providing trees.

Fast-Growing Trees

Fast-growing trees are perfect if you’re eager to see results quickly. Here are some stellar options:

  1. Leyland Cypress: This tree is a privacy powerhouse. Growing up to 3-4 feet per year, it forms a dense, evergreen screen that blocks out prying eyes and noise.
  2. Hybrid Poplar: If you’re looking for rapid growth, the hybrid poplar is your tree. This bad boy can grow up to 8 feet per year! It’s perfect for creating a natural barrier in record time.
  3. Thuja Green Giant: Known for its hardiness and fast growth, this tree is another great option for privacy. It can grow up to 5 feet per year and thrives in various soil conditions.
  4. Red Maple: Not only does it grow quickly, but its stunning fall foliage will also add a splash of color to your backyard. It can grow up to 3-5 feet per year.

Trees That Provide Shade

Shade trees are essential for creating cool, inviting spaces in your backyard. Here are some top picks that will give you the coverage you need:

  1. Oak Trees: Oaks are classic shade providers. Live oak and white oak are particularly popular, growing wide canopies that offer plenty of shade.
  2. American Sycamore: Known for its huge, beautiful leaves and rapid growth, this tree is excellent for creating large shaded areas. It can grow over 100 feet tall, so make sure you have the space!
  3. Silver Maple: This tree is fast-growing and offers excellent shade. Its silver underside of the leaves adds an exciting visual dynamic and a refreshing spot to cool off under.
  4. London Plane Tree: Resilient and easy to maintain, the London plane tree is great for urban environments. Its broad canopy and exfoliating bark make it both functional and attractive.

Choosing the right trees for your backyard can transform your outdoor space into a private retreat that resonates with natural beauty. Whether you need fast-growing trees for immediate privacy or shade-providing trees for those sunny afternoons, these options offer a great starting point for your landscaping project.

Choosing Perennials for Continuous Color

When you’re looking to jazz up your backyard, perennials are the way to go. They come back every year, making your landscape consistently vibrant without much hassle. Let’s dive into some top picks and make sure your garden’s always got that “wow” factor!

Low-Maintenance Perennials

You want your garden to be stunning, but you don’t want to be out there every weekend tending to it. Low-maintenance perennials are your best friends here. Consider Daylilies—they’re practically bulletproof and thrive in most conditions. Plus, with their wide range of colors, they’ll keep your garden looking fresh. Hostas are another great choice; they can handle diverse environments and their leafy textures add depth to your space.

For a splash of color with minimal effort, try Sedum. It’s drought-tolerant and looks amazing from spring until fall. If you’re looking for something that smells as great as it looks, Lavender is a must. Not only does it add a pop of purple, but it’s also fantastic for attracting pollinators—a win for any garden!

Perennials for Sun and Shade

Now let’s talk about where to plant these beauties. Got a sunny spot in your yard? Plant Coneflowers there. They love the sun and won’t wilt under its intense rays. Another sun-loving standout is Russian Sage. Its tall, wispy blooms bring a touch of elegance to any sunny corner.

But what about those shady areas? Don’t worry, we’ve got that covered too. Astilbe thrives in the shade and offers fluffy, feather-like flowers that brighten up darker spaces. For a perennial with a bit of drama, go for Heuchera. Its bold, colorful foliage and tiny bell-shaped flowers are perfect for adding interest to shady spots.

Ground Covers to Enhance Landscaping

Ready to jazz up your backyard? Let’s dive into ground covers, the unsung heroes of landscaping. These plants don’t just look pretty—they pack a punch when it comes to functionality.

Benefits of Using Ground Covers

Think ground covers are just filler? Think again. These plants bring multiple advantages to your backyard landscape.

  1. Erosion Control: Got slopes or areas prone to erosion? Ground covers like Creeping Juniper can hold the soil, reducing erosion.
  2. Weed Suppression: Say goodbye to those pesky weeds. Dense ground covers like Vinca Minor crowd out weeds, cutting down your yard work.
  3. Moisture Retention: Keep your soil moist with ground covers. For example, Thyme traps moisture, reducing evaporation.
  4. Aesthetic Appeal: Ground covers add a lush, complete look to your garden. Think of lush Moss carpets or colorful Creeping Phlox.

Ground covers are versatile and pack plenty of benefits. So why not make them a key player in your backyard?

Popular Ground Cover Choices

Not sure where to start? Here are some crowd-pleasers to get you going.

  1. Creeping Thyme: Great for sunny spots. This herb offers pretty purple flowers and a pleasant scent. Plus, it’s terrific for borders or between stepping stones.
  2. Vinca Minor (Periwinkle): Perfect for shady areas. It has vibrant blue flowers and forms a dense mat that keeps weeds at bay.
  3. Sedum: Ideal for different conditions, even dry areas. These hardy succulents come in various colors and shapes.
  4. Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia Nummularia): This one’s a show-stopper with its bright yellow-green leaves. Perfect for damp areas.
  5. Hosta: Excellent for shaded zones. Known for their large, decorative leaves and low maintenance.

So, ready to transform your backyard with these incredible ground covers? Your landscape will not only look amazing, but it’ll also thank you for the low-maintenance beauty.


Choosing the right plants can transform your backyard into a stunning and functional space. Whether you’re looking for vibrant perennials like Daylilies and Coneflowers or practical ground covers like Creeping Thyme and Vinca Minor, there’s something for every need and preference. Remember, the key is to select plants that not only enhance the beauty of your landscape but also fit your maintenance style and environmental conditions. With a little planning and the right choices, your backyard can become a lush, inviting haven that you’ll enjoy for years to come. Happy gardening!

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About Alex Robertson

AvatarCertifications: B.M.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Mechanical Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Hi, I’m Alex! I’m a co-founder, content strategist, and writer and a close friend of our co-owner, Sam Orlovsky. I received my Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (B.M.E.) degree from Denver, where we studied together. My passion for technical and creative writing has led me to help Sam with this project.

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